Tuesday, September 25, 2007

On the Street Where You Live

As usual, I'm listening to music as I work. The song that just played on my Winamp Player was Vic Damone's version of "On the Street Where You Live." That title is appropriate to what I am going to write about today.

I have always been a forward-looking guy and seldom reflect back on things that took place decades or years or even days ago. What is done is done. What has passed is unrecoverable. I can't change anything that happened and, with few exceptions, would really have no desire to do so.

I am curious, though. What ever happened to so-and-so? What is he doing now? Is he a captain of industry, or languishing in prison somewhere? What about girls I dated? Where are they now? Are they still as 'hot' at age 55 or 60 as they were back then? Are they stay-at-home moms, or did they have successful careers in industry or academia?

Does any of this matter?

I think it does. We are all the sum of our experiences, both good and bad. Everyone with whom we associated over the years touched us in some way. Sometimes the experiences were good, sometimes not so good. From those who behaved badly towards us, perhaps we learned how not to act ourselves. From those who contributed to our lives in some positive way, we owe gratitude for those experiences that affirmed our faith in the human race.

On occasions when I find myself in towns and cities where I have lived, and there are quite a few of those, I drive past old addresses to see what has changed. Sometimes, the buildings are in a time warp and look exactly as they did so long ago. Sometimes, they have been renovated, added to, changed almost beyond recognition. That's sort of like us, isn't it? Do you have friends or family members who still dress as they did in the fifties or sixties and still sport the same hairdos? I know people like that. Sometimes, they just look silly. Thankfully, most of us try to age gracefully and not pretend that we are still teenagers.

I have known many people over the years. I have lived on many streets. I may even have lived on the street where you live. If I have, and you remember me, say hello. I don't bite.


  1. I can't believe that anyone who has met Sieg is ever going to forget him. He still answers his phone with the friendly message,"May I help you?" And he means it. This patient guy has helped me out of numerous screw ups on my computer. He even makes house calls and has been here several times correcting problems caused by me. I am proud and fortunate to say, Sieg is my best friend. As I age,(now 80) I hope he will always be so kind.

  2. I think I look back too often. It's funny how certain things can lose their edge in one's memory, and become better than they were. Of course, that's preferrable to remembering them as worse than the were. But, I think you have the right attitude: we are the sum of our experiences, and we should take appropriately from where we've been/who we've met. As long as we continue looking forward, not backward.

  3. Ohio? Florida?... my list is short.

  4. Nice post. It's so interesting how our lives can be so interwoven. I've run into someone I worked with 15 years earlier and she didn't recognize me, and I barely recognized her. It's funny how that is. And some days, I don't recognize myself.

  5. Wildbill -- you're welcome. Let's just not tell the world that I'm mean to everyone else!

    Bellezza -- I think, as you hint at, that we tend to romanticize things a bit in our reflections backwards. You're right about always remembering to look forward. It keeps us from bumping into things.

    Jean -- Yes, that's a short list, but a good one. In Florida somewhere, I remember almost rear-ending another car at a beach when my eyes were on another rear-end, a shapely female rump. Am I allowed to admit that? In Ohio, I recall being caught for speeding near Bowling Green and being extorted out of a huge amount of money. Wait a minute -- that's not so good, is it? Actually, I love Ohio and have spent a lot of time there over the years.

    Phlegmfatale -- I wonder who the fossil is that greets me in the mirror every morning, and how he got into my house. As far as past acquaintances go, it is hard to recognize some people after many years, while others barely seem to change at all. Either way,the clock is ticking.

  6. When I lived in my home town, I lived in the past more than I have since I moved where my present didn't overlap my past. My parents' home is still the same.

    Most things and people don't stay the same but don't you love it when friendships can pick right back up?

  7. Motherpie: Moving away definitely makes you start over. Sometimes, that is a good thing. Yes, it is great when you can rekindle old friendships.

  8. "What is done is done. What has passed is unrecoverable."
    THAT'S the money-quote! We have to realize that when we write the book of our lives, we write it in ink; there are no do-overs:
    You can go back to the place but you can never go back to the time!